Admittedly Racing and fighting games are two genres that I don’t really look forward to anymore. It’s not that I have any disdain for the genres. It’s just that in my 30 plus years of playing video games I feel like I’ve seen it all from the two. And really it’s only when new hardware comes out that I get overly impressed.
There are the exceptions, Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, Test Drive Unlimited, all have special places in my gaming heart, but ultimately whenever I have spent an abundant amount of time with a racer it’s been of the Arcade type. Beetle Adventure racing on the N64 is the only reason I still have that system hooked up. So Horizon has always been my choice to play over its more sim like brother Forza, or mom, or whatever.
In this third edition, the game has hit an almost flawless peak. A peak that goes beyond liking a genre or style of game, a peak that becomes a must play. It’s a game worth taking to people about who don’t game. Maybe it’s the impressive visuals, which I’m playing with the Xbox S’s new HDR feature that really makes colors pop and adds almost photo realism. It’s not just the graphics however, racing through a river and having water splash on the screen looks so good you almost wipe your eyes. However, those graphics would mean nothing if the game wasn’t fun. It is, and it is on a grand scale.
I believe Australia may be the best setting for this series. Racing from the streets of Sydney to the outback and seeing waterfalls and abandoned Satellite posts almost makes you feel like you’re exploring just as much as you are racing, and every minute you are leveling up and adding thing to make your experience fit how you want to play and earn rewards. It all comes at you in ways to make you want to keep pushing on, and that’s what a good game does, it keeps you coming back. For me it was also the ability to tweak certain things to keep it on the line of Sim and Arcade, you can turn on things like damage effecting your handling, while also having break assist. Or you can do the opposite, each way, which will dictate how little or how much more XP you get for a race or event.
Flexibility is also key to keep ones attention. “Drivatar” is back, which lets you race against CPU controlled drivers from your friends list and uses their real life tendencies. You can now fire these Drivatars if their style doesn’t match yours. Now, this racer is more about trading paint and drifting than it is about clean lines and being smooth on the track. Which is fine by me. In free race mode, which is like an online exploring mode, which is where I spent most of my time, I was able to hop into a tricked out dune buggy and racing from a beach to a road, through fences and fields, which I found most exhilarating. My only gripe may just be the lack of Kangaroos jumping around.
So graphics, check, Gameplay, check. What about extras? That’s all here too, customizing decals, paint apps, a story, that’s not exactly Christopher Nolan material but it keeps the game moving and rounds out a great package. In fact writing this really just makes me want to play more! Sorry guys just go buy it!
Gamers Pantheon Score 90%
- Great Graphics
- Fun Gameplay
- Open World
- It is an arcade racer, for those wanting more simulator